Put an End to Overdue Invoices and Payment Headaches
How could your business grow if you were always paid on time and could stop chasing down slow paying customers?
Many construction companies just accept slow payment as an unfortunate, but necessary cost of doing business these days. But if you take the right steps and use the right tools, you can protect your payments and get paid faster without any hassle.
Kimberly Fannin is the office manager at a growing specialty sub-contracting company in Texas – Chabert Plumbing. During this live webinar, she’ll share how construction companies can use lien rights software to protect their receivables and avoid payment headaches.
In this webinar you’ll learn:
- Why slow payment plagues the construction industry and how to avoid it
- How software solutions can help put an end to overdue invoices
- How a growing sub in Texas stopped chasing down late payments, and easily gets paid on time
Danny Stagliano (01:58):
Thank you for everybody. Who’s here today. I’m really excited to have. Yeah. Um, we’re obviously going to be talking about putting an end to overdue invoices and payment headaches. Um, I know it sounds, it sounds crazy right. But we’re going to talk about how, how Kim’s done it with sharp air plumbing and how Levelset can help you do it as well. So, um, just want to encourage everyone to ask questions in the chat box below. We’re going to have a Q and a at the end of this, uh, of this webinar. We want to make sure everyone’s questions are answered. Okay. So, um, you know, real quick, just cover who me and Kim are. I’m Danny. I am a senior payment expert here at Levelset. Uh, I love what I do because I get to help empower people like Kim to stop getting paid slowly and really focused on growing, growing their businesses. So, Kim, how about you tell everyone a little bit about what you do now, not only at Chabert, but, uh, with your own company as well.
Kimberly Fannin (03:08):
Yeah, so I’m a business owner. I own a pressure washing and window cleaning company, which has kind of led me into the construction world. Um, I am now, uh, managing the office, uh, for both the construction and the service side for Chabert plumbing. We’re located in Austin, Texas music, capital of the world. So I know good music. So
Danny Stagliano (03:31):
After new Orleans.
Kimberly Fannin (03:32):
Okay, good point. Got fine. I’ll give that to you.
Danny Stagliano (03:37):
Cool. So how about you share a little bit back a bit, a little bit of background about how you got into the construction industry?
Kimberly Fannin (03:44):
Well, like you said, I work in pressure washing a window, a window cleaning before, and I was looking to, I’m just really curious. And so, um, I was looking to start something new and, uh, Shabir reached out and they asked me to join their team. And, uh, I did, and I haven’t looked back. It’s really, it construction is such a challenging, um, a challenging sector to work within that every day, something new. And I love that. It’s, uh, it’s been really fun and I’ll be here until they tell me to get out. So I’m actually becoming a plumber too. I’m an apprentice right now. I’m an apprentice right now. And, uh, I might take my tradesman here in a few months, so I’m, uh, I’m trying, I love it.
Danny Stagliano (04:30):
That’s exciting. Um, yeah. So, um, we’re just going to run through, uh, you know, how people in the construction industry, um, you know, get paid faster, avoid payment problems, uh, with Kim’s experience and how Levelset has helped them do that. Um, you know, obviously we’re all here for a reason. Like I mentioned, um, slow payment is a problem for 92% of construction companies. According to some studies, I like to say the other 8% are lying. Uh, everyone runs into problems. Right. So, uh, we’ll talk about how Levelset has helped Kim along with thousands of others, uh, avoid overdue invoices. So Kim, just right off the bat, um, what do you think makes accounts receivables such a challenge for the construction industry?
Kimberly Fannin (05:27):
That’s really good question. So for the construction industry as a whole, that’s a big question, but for us, me as like a sub contractor, um, we work with we’re working on, I think right now we have like eight or nine big projects. Um, so we’re managing crews, we’re managing the projects themselves. We’re managing permitting, we’re managing a punch, right. Um, different GCs. And so what we’ve noticed, um, that’s a problem for us is it’s kind of like this trickle down effect from the GC. So they’re trying to get payments and then they have all their vendors that they’re trying to pay. And, uh, sometimes they’re kind of, they pick and choose who they want to pay. And sometimes it’s not always on time and sometimes it’s not always fair. It’s what they’re needing. Um, so that’s kinda, that’s, that’s a challenge for us sometimes that these bigger GCs is that if they’re not getting paid, they’re not paying me. Um, which is terrible. It hurts us because I have to pay my guys. We’re all losing my guys.
Danny Stagliano (06:32):
Yeah. That’s a good point. Right. Because you’ve got people to pay and they’ve got more people than just you to pay. So, so who is getting, uh, getting paid first, I guess that rolls right into our next question. Right? Which is why should companies protect their lien rights? Like Shaw bears doing?
Kimberly Fannin (06:51):
Yeah. Um, so here in the state of Texas, we have to send something called a preliminary notice that helps protect her retain edge. And it’s just like this initial point of contact is saying, Hey, we started a project with you. Um, and by doing that, we’re kind of doing a couple things. We are letting the GC know that we’re here to play. Um, we are absolutely, um, professionals at what we do and it makes us look really good. It makes us look like we’re on top of our game. Um, number one, and number two, you should protect your lien rights at all costs. Because as much as I love digging in the dirt, like I love getting paid more. So, um, what, why get in the game? You know what I mean? It gets us in the game and it helps us get paid because that’s what we’re all here for.
Danny Stagliano (07:39):
Yeah. I guess what kind of differences have you seen in just time to payment since you started protecting your lien rights and even the way they communicate with you about payment?
Kimberly Fannin (07:49):
Oh man. You know, no one wants to send only notice you don’t it’s it’s it feels awkward. It feels like you’re, you’re doing something wrong, but in all actuality, you’re saying like, I deserve to get paid. Um, and so when you, when you have to do that, when someone’s not paying you and they keep dodging your calls and they keep, you know, ignoring your emails and you’d say, you know what, I’m going to take advantage of like everything that I’m allowed to. Um, and you send that lien notice. I mean, it’s within hours, it’s within minutes. Sometimes that people are like, oh, Hey, you know, that payment we talked about, I have the checks sitting right here on the table, come get it and then sign this waiver for me. So, I mean, it is helpful. It really makes a huge difference. And, and, you know, and just my AR um, accounts receivable, um, I’m, that list is shorter and shorter. And these like past due invoices, they’re not, they’re not happening. And even just me threatening, not threatening, that’s not the right word me saying, Hey, you know, I have this ability to protect myself. And I think I might have to do that since you’re not me. Um, people really take step back and they, they make sure that they’re, uh, taking care of you.
Danny Stagliano (09:02):
Oh, I mean, beautifully said, right? Because like you did your work on the terms agreed and you deserve to be paid for it. Um, and, and lots of the time, uh, it’s easy to get taken advantage of. So happy to hear that. Um, you’ve seen a difference with protecting lien rights and, uh, specifically Levelset I know you’ve got a ton on your plate, business owner, uh, office manager, amateur plumber. Um, how has, Levelset helped you protect your jobs? Uh, as you know, Chavez has just grown like crazy over there.
Kimberly Fannin (09:42):
I love that you use the word growth. Um, we’ve grown a lot, like in the past two years. Um, and it happens to coincide when we started using Levelset. Um, one of the first, first things we’ve done to kind of help us grow is be really picky about the types of jobs that we’re picking. Um, the types of jobs that we’re sending, spending our time and energy and providing estimates for. Um, we can go on a Levelset and we can look up a GC before we even decide to do an estimate. And we can see if they have payment problems in the past, if they’re known for paying everything on time, um, which has helped us really be confident and getting those bigger jobs, those jobs that felt a little bit out of reach. Um, not only because we have confidence that they will pay us, but also we look the part.
Kimberly Fannin (10:33):
Now we look professional to my potential clients because they’re seeing how we’re engaging with them. Um, that’s just how it they’ve helped us grow, how they protect our jobs. Um, it’s are things like the preliminary notice it, like I said, it just, it, it tells these GCs that we are taking our jobs seriously. We do the work and we deserve to get paid. Um, it’s great. Um, and I had a situation once, um, this G this GC, we were, we were working on really big projects with them, and I got an email from Levelset that said, Hey, just so you know, other contractors are saying that they’re having trouble getting paid. He wants, you might want to just go over your account and make sure that you’re doing everything right. Um, that you’ve set up your job, that you’ve set all these preliminary things. And so we did, and we looked into it, um, and you know, we, we had to send a lien notice and immediately, um, immediately we got paid, whereas some of the peers that I’ve worked on at that job, they were still having issues are still having issues, but we got paid.
Kimberly Fannin (11:43):
Um, we got paid on time and, and I really think that Levelset really helped us do that
Danny Stagliano (11:49):
Again. Like it’s why I love what I do, uh, because we can make it easy for y’all to get paid. And you know, what most, every contractor, uh, isn’t sending that preliminary notice, uh, and it helps you stand out. Right. Um, I mean, would you agree with that? Like, I mean, you’re talking about, uh, the people who work alongside you, right?
Kimberly Fannin (12:14):
Yeah. We look professional. I mean, we, we have about 20 employees and all which isn’t small, but it, we, aren’t this huge company and we’re working on multifamily homes, we’re working on these really huge projects and it can be intimidating. It really can. Um, you can look at some of these contracts and you’re like, oh man. Um, but when we use something like Levelset, and they’re, they’re helping me keep on track kind of hands-off even, because, like I said, I’m running the service side, we’re running the construction side. We have a lot of different things on our plate and you can automate some of these things. So we automate, um, the preliminary notices to automatically go out. I don’t have to think about it. As soon as I enter in the job at Levelset, it automatically goes out, it automatically does all this stuff. Um, and so it makes me look like a professional, even if I feel like, oh my God, there’s so much stuff going on. I don’t know what’s going on. Like, it’s, it’s doing that for me, which helps me look good to my boss, honestly. And, uh, to these companies that were working for,
Danny Stagliano (13:21):
I love it. I love it. So, I mean, you’re saying it helps you look good to your boss and the
Kimberly Fannin (13:31):
Danny Stagliano (13:31):
I love that we’re here to empower. So, I mean, what would your job be like if you didn’t have Levelset in terms of going after money getting paid?
Kimberly Fannin (13:39):
No, it was stressful, stressful. Um, you know, we all have our strengths and weaknesses, right? Like I love people. I love all sorts of different digging in the dirt. Apparently all sorts of these really great things. I hate asking for money. Um, I, I don’t like confrontation, um, and it kind of stresses me out. And so sometimes before Levelset, I would look at our accounts receivable and, you know, we have a $40,000 check that is set to come in or, or more, and I’m, I’m freaking out about it. I’m like, oh, did I do everything right? Did I send this? Did I do that? And, uh, it, it really has like, kept me up at night thinking about these payments. Um, because even if it’s not my fault, right, like I’m internalizing it. I’m like, oh no, I’ve messed up and no, we’re not going to get paid.
Kimberly Fannin (14:24):
And it’s, so that was stressful. And then also we were just using, um, just this, uh, Google sheets, just a spreadsheet. Um, and it was really easy to kind of let things fall through the cracks. And we didn’t know anything really about preliminary notices before, uh, we started engaging with Levelset. So after we started getting on board with Levelset, like I said, it’s, it’s helped us grow. It helped us choose the right jobs. It helped protect those jobs. It helps us look more professional. Um, and it’s it’s yeah. Uh, my job without Levelset, I would feel overwhelmed. And, uh, I don’t know, I’m looking a lot better now.
Danny Stagliano (15:07):
I love that. Um, again, like anything that we can do to take off your plate, right. I mean, everyone who’s in here knows it. Um, we’re small businesses, right? So everyone’s got so many different roles, so many different jobs and, and it can be hard to try and grow while also making sure you’re getting paid on the back end the job. So, um, thank you so much for that, Kim. Uh, and just like, you know, you’re, you’re a business owner and you’re an office manager in plumber. Um, for, for both the owners in here and the office managers, the accounts receivable specialists controllers. What advice do you have overall about getting paid faster? Uh, and yeah.
Kimberly Fannin (15:56):
Yeah. I think that if you can find things to integrate into your, your system, if you don’t have a system, first of all, start trying to create these systems that are repeatable, that are automated, um, things that you can kind of stop worrying about, stop thinking about, um, like sending those preliminary notices automatically. Hands-off, it’s getting done. Um, that’s taking, was taking off of my plate, right. Which is so as a business owner, right. I’m helping my office manager be good at their job. I’m, I’m automating things for them. I’m making a system for them. I’m making it repeatable. So if I have to fire her next week, um, we can just throw someone else in. We already have this system in place. Um, anything that is repeatable, anything that is, you know, as automated as you can make, it really, um, sets you up for, for success.
Kimberly Fannin (16:56):
Like we all started a business, we all started whatever we’re in, because we love what we do. Right? Like we love turning wrenches. We’re really good at plumbing. Right. But we might not be good at AR. And so when you, you know, take any year, take 20, 20, whatever you have 50 plumbers start their own business, and they’re all excited and they all have the same, same base level. Well, come back next year, 2021. And you’re only going to see five successful plumbers afterwards because they didn’t get paid. Um, because they didn’t set up systems and they spent all their time working in the field, um, working in their business versus on their business. So when you have something like Levelset or you have these systems in place, like you’re free to really concentrate on the growth of your business versus the day-to-day hassles.
Danny Stagliano (17:50):
Um, yeah. I mean, couldn’t have said it better myself, um, cause I’ve never been in your shoes, right. I’ve only seen, uh, just the success of shop air plumbing first and foremost, and, and everyone else who, um, who I’ve watched put a lien rights management system in place. Uh, and yeah, for sure. Um, well, thanks again, Kim. Um, that’s all the questions that I have for Kim. Uh, want to remind everybody, if you do have any questions, there is a Q and a box at the bottom or top wherever your zoom little thing is, uh, where you can ask questions for me or for Kim. Um, at this point, uh, just gonna do a quick overview of some of the things that Kim was talking about, that, that we help, uh, with and in that is with the lien rights management stuff, with the payment profiles, um, pretty much everything in that construction, finance toolbox, um, that has helped Kim and Shaw bear and thousands of other contractors, subs and suppliers see tons of success.
Danny Stagliano (19:02):
Um, and it does start with that lien rights management. Um, Kim Kim touched upon earlier, like having an automated system in place, right? It doesn’t matter where you’re working, who you’re working for, what your role is on the job. Um, we’re going to help make sure that you have the confidence and the peace of mind that your company is being protected and your money is being protected for the work that you do. Okay. The right notices are going to go out when you want them, as long as it’s statutory compliance. And then we’re also going to let you know, when we you’ve got deadlines coming up, the best part about it is you don’t have to jump into a bunch of different systems. It’s all going to be in Levelset. Right. And we do link with a bunch of different accounting softwares either way. We’ll make it easy for you. Um, on top of that job research. All right. So for a lot of these documents and I’m sure Kim can attest, you do need to know a property owner, a lender. If there’s a lender on the job, maybe you’re a supplier or you’re a second or third tier sub. You don’t know everyone above you on the job, right. In order to protect yourself. All right, we’re going to help you find that. Okay.
Kimberly Fannin (20:20):
Yes. By the way, that’s such a, I love that feature. Um, there’s the help feature is what you’re talking about. It is great because, oh my God, this is a genius feature. Love it.
Danny Stagliano (20:34):
Um, yeah. So just, you don’t have to worry about scouring the internet, trying to find, um, trying to find that info yourself. We’ll do it for ya. Um, and then job radar. I don’t know if anyone remembers Kim talking about, um, being on a job and, uh, we let her know that someone else ran into a payment problem on the job. We can do the same for you. All right. Any jobs drawn? Well, Kim, let me ask you, um, as a plumber, do you ever talk to like the, the wood supplier on your job? The timber supplier?
Kimberly Fannin (21:15):
No, no, no. That’s ever supplier, maybe, you know, I might talk to other trades. I might talk to masonry and I might talk to, uh, electric. Um,
Danny Stagliano (21:27):
Well, well here’s, if that person who, you never talked to, runs into a payment problem on the job, you’re going to know about it. Right. It doesn’t matter if you never talked to him, we’re going to let y’all know. Um, so you can put yourself in line to get paid on top of that. Um, Kim mentioned this as well, knowing who you’re working with with our payment profiles, right? So, uh, maybe you’re bidding on a new job. Maybe you’re working with a new GC. You don’t trust, you can look up how many liens have been filed against them when the liens were filed, how slow they were to pay, uh, the amount of money it costs, uh, or that was slow, paid along with just reviews from people like Kim, other subs and suppliers. So, um, then lastly, lien waiver solutions, maybe you have to deal with the headache of filling out waivers, send them out, even collecting them from your vendors. We just make that easy and automated. Okay. They can actually, you know, we all know how hard it is to keep track of paperwork. It’s a one, it’s a place you can literally take your, your iPhone or your Android sign a document with your finger, get that waiver back out.
Danny Stagliano (22:46):
So, um, yeah, that’s the jest. So I just wanted, uh, it looks like we have a question. Um, we’ve got a bunch of questions here. I’d love to go over them and let’s start from the top. Uh, and Larry, I’ll get to your question after Kimberly’s. So, uh, Kimberly, uh, it does work for it. So the question is, is this for construction only, or does this work for service contractors? So, uh, it’s not just for construction. We have lots of people who do both construction service, finding people who do just service. Kim, do you guys do any service work at all?
Kimberly Fannin (23:29):
I’m actually really interested in this question because I haven’t integrated it into my service side. So I’m absolutely. This is a great question.
Danny Stagliano (23:38):
So we’ll, we’ll talk about it after then as well, but, um, leveraging lien rights, it’s, it’ll be a little different with service work because you’re doing a lot more. Um, but w we can help you set up reminders, uh, and documents to manage lien rights once there’s an issue. Okay. Depending on the state you’re in, maybe we’re starting to send prelims. Um, but Kimberly would love to talk to you after this, if you want to reach out, um, specifically about what, where you’re located and if it would make sense to, to start protecting lien rights for you. Did that help answer your question?
Danny Stagliano (24:16):
I hope so. Um, reach out to me after, if not, uh, and then Larry looks like, so you said, is the payment profile dependent on contractor entries, a Levelset, or do we make mean information available? So great question. Okay. Um, it’s not just based on contractor. Oh, hi Liz. Uh, so Liz is Larry’s assistant, so it’s not just based on contractor entries on Levelset. We do. We actually have a data team here who’s going out and pulling all that information from county recorders. They’re scouring, uh, all the county recorders across the country for, like I said, liens that are filed the addresses. They were filed on how much money those slow pays were for. Okay. And then how long it took to pay off. So did that answer your question, Liz? Beautiful. Um, so anyone else have any questions here? Um, oh, beautiful. So I’ve got a question from anonymous. So hi, anonymous attendee. Um, the question is how is Levelset made aware if there are payment problems on the job? Also a really good question. So I mentioned our data team, right? We’re actually scouring, uh, county recorders, like, like I had mentioned earlier, but we work with thousands of other subs and suppliers like Kim, if Kim runs into a problem on the job, Kim, what do you do when you run into a pro?
Kimberly Fannin (26:11):
Yeah. So, um, E kind of logistically, like when you’re actually in Levelset and you’re entering in like a counselor receivable, um, you can enter in an invoice, or if you get paid on an invoice, um, you can, it automatically pops up like how is working with GC anonymous? And you can give it, you know, zero to five stars or whatever. Um, which is how it kind of, I think they probably aggregate, I don’t know how it works for you on the backend, but you probably take that lien notices and everything into effect. But on my end, I’ve actually gotten emails saying, Hey, other subcontractors on this project located at this address is having problems getting paid. So is that,
Danny Stagliano (27:00):
Oh, no, that’s, that’s great. Um, when you run into a problem, you send a notice, right? So, because Kim’s a Levelset user sending a notice on the job, we know somebody on that job outside of leans, right. Had to send a notice. They ran into slow payment when there’s smoke, there’s fire, fire’s probably going to spread. Right. So it gives you the opportunity, um, to, to go ahead and protect yourself. Did that answer the question for you? Beautiful. I love it. Um, sweet. Anybody else got any questions? I know we’re coming up on time here. Um, but we’d love to hear other questions. I actually have one, it looks like, okay. I, it looks like I have a question in private message. All right. So, um, the question is, what if I have a lot of small jobs like service jobs and not as many big jobs, is it worth sending prelims to protect those smaller jobs too? Right. So we talked about this a little bit earlier, but if there, if we’re talking, um, depending on the size, like, let me ask whoever asks is like, are you willing to lose that amount of money? If the answer’s no, then you should send prelims on the job. Obviously, late payments on little jobs have a way to add up, um, as much as, you know, one big job, right? Oh, thanks for that question. Hope it answered it. Um,
Kimberly Fannin (28:34):
I think also something that’s been helpful to me with that, um, is my customer success team. There’s an actual team that if I don’t know how to protect something, or if I missed a deadline or something like that, they have always come up with all these different solutions to make sure I get paid. It might not be a lien notice. It might be, you know, they have all sorts of different ways to help you get paid. Um, and they are really excellent at thinking outside the box.
Danny Stagliano (29:05):
I love it. Well, I just want to thank everyone who attended here. I want to thank Kim Kim, uh, obviously is amazing. Um, and, and she took time out of her day, her busy day, uh, to be here. Um, and so did all of you, so, um, there’s going to be an email shot out with a recording of this, uh, of this webinar after anyone who wants to reach out to us can go to that link there, Levelset.com/contact us if you want to reach out to me directly, because I’m awesome. According to my mother, um, I’m putting my number in the chat as well. Uh, and then my email as well. So, um, really been a pleasure to have everyone here. Uh, and thanks again for coming. And if anybody wants to stick around, I’ll stay for another couple of minutes just to answer any questions. Yeah. Okay. Kim already started working again. Yeah. You’re, you’re free to, you’re free to head out. Bye everybody. Thanks again. Thank you for having me. Thank you for coming. Hope. I’m going to enjoy my dance moves at the end. They were pretty good. Thank you.